What is marriage?

iBrian

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Interesting comments on Conservative vs Liberal Anglicans over the schism issue over homosexuality:

BBC NEWS | UK | Anglican rift: Conservative v Liberal

What really strikes me is the conservative view expressed - that it's not about homosexuality, it's simply about sex outside of marriage:

The Bible is clear that sex is a gift from God and is intended for a life-long committed relationship of marriage between a man and a woman. Any sex outside marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual is therefore against God's plan for his children and his will.

Which begs the question - what is marriage?

It seems most people presume that marriage has been unchanging, but the tax signing ceremony we have now has nothing to do with marriage in at least the times contemporary with Jesus.

For example, in Roman life, you were believed married simply by living with someone. You could also opt for a ceremony in front of friends to express regards, but ultimately, there was no signing of documents.

You can see this in the modern Christian wedding ceremony - the ring, carrying over the threshold, etc, are Roman in origin - but even in a modern Christian wedding you are not regarded as married until you sign a civil document stating that you are married.

In other words, the wedding ceremony that defined marriage in Roman times no longer defines marriage in modern times.

So what constitutes marriage has apparently changed quite significantly - it is no longer a declaration before family, friend and even God - but instead, the process of signing a civil document, nothing more.

In which case, has the interpretation of marriage according to scripture failed to keep with the changes?

After all, if people living together in the time of the first Christians was regarded as marriage, why is it that two people living together nowadays are not regarded as married by Christians?

Something for discussion if you will...
 
First, as the article itself points out, these two people represent the extreme poles of POVs on the topics discussed. As always, while the poles are often the most vocal, it does not mean that the whole body of the church is that sharply divided. Not trying to brush away the conflict, but putting a bit of perspective on it. Human relationships and figuring out how we can all get along, and yes love and support each other, is often messy business.

Also, these individuals are not representing the voice(s) of the church in this interview. They clearly say they are speaking for themselves.

Having said all of that :) my views are closer to the 'liberal' bishop. I think that marriage is sacred but it's not made that way by either a civil document or the ritual in church, but the promises made between two people. Religious people also often include God in that covenant, the outward sign of which is the marriage sacrament.

The whole thing about it being only about sex outside of marriage is nonsense, because then the clearly sensible thing is to allow homosexuals to marry (something I personally support).

I think there is such a thing as sexual sin, but it is not defined by the genders of the people involved, but by offenses or abuses against the relationships involved, the promises made, and the responsibilities to be upheld.

2 c
 
Having never married, I probably shouldnt have an opinion, but I will say this,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and its a "romantic" opinion, but MY opinion nevertheless. I have never married because the "men" i have been involved with for one reason or another were not to me my "life" partner, so I NEVER made that commitment. However that is not to say that I never would, because you never know.............. ( a girl can dream, cant she) and yes Marriage should be forever, eternal even, ( i know everyone says that, but I just wanted to add it as my own personal opinion)
By the way, did I mention my son has gotten married before I have..... LOL.
 
I think there is such a thing as sexual sin, but it is not defined by the genders of the people involved, but by offenses or abuses against the relationships involved, the promises made, and the responsibilities to be upheld.

2 c

Expresses my view perfectly. Thanks, Luna. :)
 
I dunno. I don't disagree with what's been said, but I think that marriage is a binding together both of the two individuals and their finances, but also a binding of the couple to the larger community. You make these promises of fidelity not only to each other, but to the community which stands as witness.

Chris
 
Just a little question, inregards marriage........ presuming in the first place that you take the vows as a sacred oath and you promise to love each other all your lives, my question is,,,,,,,, why not say eternal?? is there a reason for this......... i understand that obviously for 90% of the population, till death us do part, is too long, but for the diehards... what do you reckon?
 
I dunno. I don't disagree with what's been said, but I think that marriage is a binding together both of the two individuals and their finances, but also a binding of the couple to the larger community. You make these promises of fidelity not only to each other, but to the community which stands as witness.
i think this is a good way of putting it. for us, it's not so much about what you feel but about what you intend to do. then again, we also recognise that some marriages end in divorce and that is something that must be dealt with, not ignored or made impossible.

as for the gay marriage thing, i really dunno. on one hand, i do think the word "marriage" means a man and a woman, but it seems pretty undeniable to me that gay couples can have what is, to all intents and purposes, a virtually identical relationship that may well be more successful than a regular marriage, including kids. either way, it can't be OK for people to ruin your life by attempting to control something that is by definition uncontrollable. i've got no problem with the concept of a "commitment ceremony" and certainly you should be able to share your assets with whoever you choose and bequeath them to whoever you chose. where i think i probably stop is the point at which someone tries to make the two portions of the jewish marriage ceremony, erusin and nisu'in work for gay couples, i just don't think that would work, knowing what is involved. however, it would be perfectly possible for the asset-related and financial aspects to be treated halakhically, you just couldn't link this to the heterosexual aspect of the man acquiring what is in effect a lease on the woman's reproductive systems, in return for which the woman acquires certain rights of maintenance and sexual satisfaction. the point here is that a woman can acquire these rights without getting married if she so chooses, but the man cannot acquire a similar capacity which is binding without it. i'm not explaining this very well but there you go.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
bananabrain said:
you just couldn't link this to the heterosexual aspect of the man acquiring what is in effect a lease on the woman's reproductive systems, in return for which the woman acquires certain rights of maintenance and sexual satisfaction.
:eek:
 
i told you i hadn't explained it well. basically, what the husband acquires (by means of the ring, that is the "consideration" in the contract) is basically exclusive, ah, access, in return for which the wife gets a) the ring b) an enforceable set of divorce protections c) an enforceable set of rights with regard to, ah, boots, board and bonking.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
But what is marriage, though? At what point does "marriage" occur?

The point I really wanted to explore is at what point does the commitment between individuals translate into marriage?

By modern standards, that simply means signing the relevant paper.

However, this wasn't an issue for earlier societies.

The witnessing ceremony that they may have had is meaningless in modern times unless that paper is signed.

To a cynic like me, it takes all the romance out of marriage, and effectively turns it into a tax agreement.

Could it not therefore be applied even in modern times that once a couple is effectively living together, they are effectively married in the eyes of society?

I think if we followed that kind of consideration, we would have a better idea as a society of what marriage actually is, and how any kind of relationship between individuals brings responsibilities. I think in that way, it broadens the scope for what constitutes marriage, and if anyone wishes to sign a piece of people, simply defines the specifics of that marriage.

2c.
 
Could it not therefore be applied even in modern times that once a couple is effectively living together, they are effectively married in the eyes of society?

Steady on there Brian, that means I've been married for nearly 20 years.

s.
 
i told you i hadn't explained it well. basically, what the husband acquires (by means of the ring, that is the "consideration" in the contract) is basically exclusive, ah, access, in return for which the wife gets a) the ring b) an enforceable set of divorce protections c) an enforceable set of rights with regard to, ah, boots, board and bonking.

b'shalom

bananabrain

Keep digging, bb; I think you're nearly through to China. :p

s.
 
The whole thing about it being only about sex outside of marriage is nonsense, because then the clearly sensible thing is to allow homosexuals to marry (something I personally support).

I think there is such a thing as sexual sin, but it is not defined by the genders of the people involved, but by offenses or abuses against the relationships involved, the promises made, and the responsibilities to be upheld.

2 c

Not sure why but I couldn't fully understand... Are you saying it is a sin to have sex and not be married? If so I couldn't disagree more. If not then ignore this.
 
Could it not therefore be applied even in modern times that once a couple is effectively living together, they are effectively married in the eyes of society?.
And when they move apart they are effectively divorced.

Tis the issue this forever stuff. I think our problem is love today over bears the contract. I know Asian Indians, married for life, never having met their spouse until after the partition is removed during the ceremony. Arranged marriages have a different meaning than those based on compatability, common interests and love. As once the compatability, common interests and/or love dissappear so often so does the reason to stay married.

Thinking that all people will be able to follow that path for 20, 40, 60 years, is ludicrous, thinking the majority will is laughable.
 
Ummm...arranged marriages seem to work pretty well in places like China, Japan and India, and have for centuries if not millenia.

I think wil's got a point...even if it is on the top of his head. The lust rush is so intense, there's just no way it can last for any realistic amount of time. Basing a long term relationship on pretty much that alone is setting that relationship up for failure.

I'm certainly no expert on the subject, I'm less than two years into my first marriage. But all of the old timers I have ever listened to, every single one, talked about working at getting through tough times.

The romantic notion of love makes marriage sound like a vacation cruise. Every long term marriage I have ever heard of makes marriage sound like a full time job with lots of overtime and no holidays. I think it may be the unrealistic expectations that set up a lot of couples to fail.

But that's just my meager opinion as an observer.
 
so, do arranged marriages last longer than "normal" western ones, do you think?
Has there been a study on this or is this just suppostion?
Culture might be a greater factor in any difference in divorce rates in arranged marriages vs love matches. (Such as: forced marriage may leave no room for divorce. 'Means other than divorce' :)eek:) may be employed to dissolve arranged marriages, etc. There are many ways to skew the numbers/statistics to make something appear "honourable," if you know what I mean. ;)
 
'Means other than divorce' :)eek:) may be employed to dissolve arranged marriages, etc.

Yeah, but means other than divorce have been used to dissolve all kinds of marriages.

Everything from arsenic and old lace, to antifreeze, to overdosing on "bad" cholesterol, to second hand smoke.

*sigh*, you always hurt the ones you love.

snicker snicker
 
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